Review of a 2009 Corolla w/ a stick … for 4 days

Discussion in 'Toyota' started by xcel, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Brother:

    ___I did not have any trouble with the clutch action or how she revs but this is the 2.4 vs. the 1.8? The 1.8 in the 9th gen acted just as you described too!

    ___Everything below is very preliminary with only 5-miles of mine on her so far.

    2009 Toyota Corolla – Specifications.


    ___Exterior has all the boy racer toys including the rear spoiler. It looks nice other than that spoiler imho. Especially in red ;)

    ___Did anyone notice the XRS’ Cd increased by 0.02 over the Standard through XLE? With all the plastic add-on’s and rear spoiler, the XRS’s aero capability was quite literally thrown away :(


    ___Nice cup holder up front and the now std,. Toyota dual glove box setup. What I was a little disappointed in was the arm rest/storage compartment. The interior of the box reveals a very cheap plastic box with some felt on the bottom. Very Chevrolet Cobalt like which was out of step for a vehicle of this capability.


    ___The highpoint of the vehicle so far! With the new telescopic wheel, it fits like a glove with the seat all the way back and the seat height all the way down for me. They matched the Civic’s ergonomics very well in the XRS but… I am 6’-1” with a 34” inseam and I suspect anyone with a 36” or longer inseam is going to be a little cramped.


    ___A/C and ventilation controls. Toyota really dropped the ball here. They installed the Yaris’ manual feeling and big knobbed controls vs. the previous gen’s electronic and flush controls buttons. A very large step backwards for a $23,000 automobile.


    ___OEM i and aFCD. Very disappointed wrt this instrumentation. First off, you have to cycle through a whole slew of other readouts to come back around to the i and than aFCD. Very much like the Civic iCDTi review so that one is just a bit of work is all. The item that offers no solution however is nothing recorded during a FAS!!! The OEM instruments are simple stuck with no fuel consumed and no distance traveled as a ScanGauge-II would if setup in GAS mode. I installed the (2) SG-II’s in series of course so I had some reasonable assurance to FE but until a short fill cal, that still needs to be determined.


    ___I have to work on this one but you can jam load into the 85 + region with any kind of throttle so you have to be moderate. This will take a little time as I had to much to pay attention to on a Friday night heavy traffic jaunt to be watching TPS. Fuel cut works as the baseline is 16. I set her for 20 on both gauges and she will fuel cut while in N and REV’s falling from 2,400 or so. I still have some adjustments to do on this.


    ___Clutch action. I really like it. Very smooth with enough play that it took all of two clutch starts and she was as smooth as butter. Third gear clutch or “bump” starts below 10 mph get really rough. Best to bring the mill online above 13 mph in third. Bringing her back online at 45 mph was as simple as a quick slap in fifth, light off the ICE as the clutch goes back in and downshift to fourth and pulse.

    ___Don’t bother with second gear pulses above 20 mph. Simply way to low.


    ___Gearing is way to low for the 2.4L equipped Corolla :( First gear is already revving by 5 mph. This thing has almost 160 HP on tap and they geared it like it was only capable of generating just 75 horses :confused: Way to short for the 2.4L ICE imho :angry:


    ___With the performance meats on her, she goes where you point here without a question :)

    Very short distance with uncalibrated FE data

    ___Some interesting data points wrt to what a real P&G can be worth in any vehicle while taking my wife to dinner at an Olive Garden 2.5 miles away.

    ScanGauge-II: 51.0 mpg there (2.5 miles) and 53.4 mpg back over the same.
    OEM aFCD: 11.4 mpg there (same 2.5 miles) and 12.2 mpg back over the same.

    ___Although this was not a full P&G regiment (Ok, if the ICE is not loaded, I am not running her needlessly ;)) what was interesting was the FE delta between the two instruments. What this shows is how a P&G works in every vehicle. For the Corolla XRS with the high RRc, super low profile, performance meats, the glide to pulse distances look very reasonable at close to a 4.4 : 1 ratio.


    ___Strong 12V as all new 12V’s are. FAS’ing with headlights on for the drive home yielded 12.1 after maybe 1.5 minutes of ICE-Off time. Very strong and nice to know.

    ___Headlights have nice cutoff. Still simple halogens but you could see when you hit a bump the cutoff jump vs. the fuzzy edges of other more expensive vehicles.

    ___Seating. I really like the way the XRS held me in the seat. As stated above, very Civic like for a change. Seat height adjuster was not as nice as I had hoped although I like the seat at the bottom. The adjuster is a pump type via handle (std. for this class of vehicle) but it tilts the seat forward more than raises it up. I wish Toyota would have spent a few more $’s on the seat height adjuster design :(

    ___Ride is a bit stiff with the low profile meats at 51 psi. This was as expected however.

    ___The XRS’ much upgraded stereo sounds much better than the radio that the previous gen’s Base through LE came with :)

    ___The EPS (Electric Power Steering) did not have that on-off-on action heading into and out of a FAS. I believe it is speed compensated and thus no boost at anything over 25 mph or so. I will try and get a better feel for that tomorrow.

    ___FAS’ing action, Drop the key and bring her back almost immediately and she will not diesel. That is a good thing :D

    ___She doesn’t glide as good as I would have hoped :( The roads were rain soaked but it felt kind of “draggy”. I am headed out again for a few higher speed highway runs to see what she is worth at speed.

    ___Toyotas’ 10th Corolla is still showing that damn .03 gph fuel consumption on the ScanGauge with the ICE-Off. Toyota must be doing something different with the throttle plate with the ICE-Off vs. everybody else because this .03 gph is a menace. Fortunately, it is not that much of a menace as you are in the 700 mpg range at 30 or so ;)

    ___About all for now and time to do a little highway action.

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___The baseline highway numbers are complete.

    ___What I did was reset a ScanGauge-II and the OEM aFCD at the beginning a 5-mile segment and while DWL in a tight band but maintaining an avg. speed of 45, 50, 55, 60 and 65 mph, I recorded the FE from both aFCD’s. The ScanGauge in its non-calibrated state would read ~ 7.5% high at 45 mph and just 3% high at 65 mph vs. the OEM. The actuals listed below were pulled from the OEM aFCD as they were the most conservative.

    Conditions: Side winds at ~ 5 mph and temps from 63 – 64 degrees F.

    2009 Corolla XRS -Reasonably steady state (DWL) FE tests

    Speed Range43 – 47 mph48 – 52 mph53 – 57 mph58 – 62 mph64 – 66 mph
    FE Displayed *47 mpg50 mpg44 mpg40 mpg34 mpg

    * OEM aFCD results.​

    ___50 at 50 is about the best she can do at night while simply DWL. With a little technique thrown her way, let us see if we can get her up to 55 - 60 on Sunday possibly ;)

    ___And the road holding capability of the XRS absolutely buries the 9th gen LE. I suspect the 10th gen LE has the lazy handling as well but Toyota spent some time Mazda3’ing this one. I believe the TOE is a little heavy as she stay pointed where you want but it almost feels artificially heavy? That could be the numbing feel of the EPS getting in the way as well?

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  3. brother

    brother Well-Known Member

    Wayne must be having fun. :D Haven't heard a peep out of him in over 40 hours.
  4. Nikki

    Nikki Well-Known Member

    Brother, I had an issue of the engine revving a bit when driving from a dead stop because I wasn't coordinating the clutch & accelerator correctly for the Vibe [Matrix clone, which are both based on the Corolla]. Somewhere during the first couple of tanks of gas, my brain & feet worked this out. This was never a problem with my previous manual transmission vehicles.
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Brother:

    ___Sorry for not getting back to you sooner and yes, I have been having a heck of a good time with the Corolla today :D :D :D

    Day’s experiences

    ___I drove up to Milwaukee to Bradlee Fons home to install clutch switches in both his and his son Justin’s Insight(s). About 62 miles one way. With maybe 10% warm-up P&G, 85% highway and 5% local, she allowed a nice 58.1 mpg segment into their drive. Bradlee, Justin, Bradlees wife Marie and I took the Corolla out to lunch and she allowed the mid 54mpg there and back. From there, I was going to do the calibration fill in East Troy, WI which follows what Chicago and South Eastern WI members would know as Route 83 from the North side of Milwaukee to almost the south and than a 45 and 55 mph limited county road but since the numbers were so good, I just kept on going right to the Interstate. Now this was really fun as I pulled into my parents drive at 67.6 mpg. I took them out for Ice Cream and she allowed a wonderful 61.7 mpg segment there and 62.0 mpg back over maybe a 5 mile jaunt each way. I than drove back home where she is parked for that last segment at 62.7 and the tank is reported to be at 62.5 mpg over 180 + miles so far. The gas gauge is still pegged at the stops of the full mark so who knows what the actual is currently? Tomorrow morning I will do the calibration fill but I still suspect the ScanGauge-II may be optimistic by 3 to 5 mpg’s. I hope its not of course but its best to be a little pessimistic than overly optimistic with only 180 miles on the vehicle including the clinics, highway test runs and all the segments run today.

    Mom and Dad in the Corolla at a local ice-cream spot. Happy father’s day dad!

    Ice-cream run segment … One of many 60 + mpg segments in the Corolla XRS today.​

    What was learned?

    ___The slow speed stuff through little towns and such … 2nd gear for a fraction of a second, third from 15 mph up to 1,750 R’s with a max TPS of ~ 33 and max load into the 94% area. Fourth to 1,900 w/ a max TPS of ~ 31 while running load to a max of 85 to 90%, and fifth from 35 mph on up with a max 2,200 R’s and max load of 85% in an under 40 mph P&G while holding a TPS no more than 31. This seems to be the ticket for entry into a MS P&G regiment from almost stopped.

    ___On the highway, it is easy to get decent FE but also a little frustrating. Because of the short gearing, it is Fifth, Glide, Fifth, Glide in a speed range from 47 to 57 mph. No more than a 29 TPS and a load in to 70 to 85% range depending on slope.

    ___Tomorrow I will pull out the stops in some competition level P&G and see what her top end is possibly worth… weather permitting of course.

    ___FAS’ing with the lights on … A few 1 milers involved over a 2 minute + period and the 12V never saw below 12.1 V.

    ___Automatic head and taillights. The light sensor brings the headlights online a bit early for my taste but for safety, it works. When you FAS however, they shut down. With that, once the light sensor says its time for lights (a little light in the dash shows up), it is time to take the headlights to manual if you are going to do any ICE-Off scenarios.

    ___Also, the big 2.4 at idle was consuming between .23 to .24 gph once warm-up was complete.

    Having some Fun :)

    ___And about the fun. First off, I found a large empty parking lot on my way home from WI this evening to test out VSC in a mid-speed High G/High Momentum turning scenario during a FAS. Everything works as expected of course in both right and left turns. To good in fact as I felt the brakes alternating to slow the vehicle down via the YAW sensor feeling a little out of sorts well before anything was ready to break loose. You are not going to get near the adhesion limits in this thing as VSC takes control probably close to the same as it does in the Prius. Maybe .69 or so? I will try and get an answer from Toyota on that one tomorrow morning?

    ___FAS’ing plus Mid and High speed P&G’ing. The faster you go, the more fun this beauty becomes. Because it has so much more engine than what is needed, there is a fun quotient I usually do not feel in other fuel efficient automobiles. This was a lot like the iCDTi review but with a little more go but not nearly as fuel efficient. Hit the go pedal, it really goes. FAS and you have one heck of a P&G’er with a not so efficient ICE and gear ratio setup. There is a little clutch and engine hesitation upon a bump start above 50 but the ICE pulls up extremely smooth and power is available darn near immediately! Again, to much ICE for this weight of a vehicle. I also started seeing the 200 to 300 R run-up when the clutch was first stepped on as I was heading into a FAS. It was there all along of course following your comments a few days ago.

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  6. mpgdad

    mpgdad Well-Known Member

    so if you are getting 60plus on a 2.4 what do you think you could accomplish on a 1.8?

    Do you think 60 plus could be a constant on a 1.8?
  7. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Highway P&G - what rpm in 5th at what speed? How do the ratios compare to other cars?
  8. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Wow. That is bad. It's almost as bad as my 2750 at 60, and the Fit's slightly worse gearing. But... these have a 1.6 and a 1.5, and not a 2.4L engine! What were they thinking?

    edit: that's strange... this is a response to Wayne's post below.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi MPGdad:

    ___I have to believe the 1.8 is good for at least 5 more mpg out on the highway?

    ___Andrew, the R’s for this motor are way to high imho :( See the 2009 Toyota Corolla Specs page for more info but the calcs and the actual are dead on. 2,530 + at 60 for a motor that for all intents and purposes should be darn near idling at that speed :ccry: Even P&G’ing in the mid 30’s and low 40’s sometimes requires 5th. We are talking about pulsing in fifth, not cruising in fifth! Anything at highway and we only have 5th. During a high load, low TPS highway pulse, she is sucking fuel down at a rate of almost 3 gph while accelerating faster than what most would be used too :angry:

    ___The 2.4 Camry based ICE is far smoother than the 1.8L in the 9th gen Corolla (night and day with no buzz or noise while under load) but it seems so mismatched to the ratios. First is so low and you are out of it by 4 mph most of the time. From 35 mph on up, you are already pulling a very strong accel in Fifth and I am constantly looking for that 6th gear at 45 +. Just one more gear and this thing would be great!!!

    ___About that motor … Consider the TPS has a range of 15 – 85 and I am using at most 33 while in a pulse uphill in second or third, hopefully most will get an idea as to how much more power this thing has than needed. Add the boy racer effects (which add drag) and there is a problem in Corolla land even if it is a very very fun ride for someone without a lot of high speed highway on their own daily grind.

    ___Good Luck

  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___A few highlights of the day …

    First calibration fill … 193.9 miles on 3.268 gallons top off to top off for 59.33 mpg. SG-II read 62.4 so the short tank negative offset is in place.

    Calibration tank with final review tank fill tomorrow morning.

    Corolla at DiamondLarry’s home yesterday evening.

    162.5 miles there and 162.5 miles back w/ 85% highway.​

    ___Tank is showing 65.6 mpg including the two segments and a 73.5 segment on the World FE Championship course at Larry’s in Elkhart, IN tonight. Kind of low for a competition level P&G but there was wind?

    ___Anything above 35 mph is all Fifth. Do not use anything lower than third from 15 to 25 mph, fourth from 25 to 35. Second, forget about it :rolleyes:

    ___Forget steady state DWL cruise as you will be murdered in the FE arena on the highway. Cycle fifth from 47 to 60 with no more than 90% load and no less than 75. TPS from 24 to 30.


    ___The clutch pedal squeaks on release sometimes.

    ___That is about it for now. Final fill in the morning just before Toyota takes it back from me at ~ 11:00 AM CST :ccry:

    ___Good Luck

  11. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    wow talk about breaking a car in wayne, you didn't tell us your AVERAGE SPEED! as that's very important ;)
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Phil:

    ___About 30 mph on the first tank or so as I would guess given it was and the 25% city/country and clinics in suburbia. This tank is more along the lines of 35 - 40 mph given the higher percentage of 55 and 65 mph limited Interstates and only 20% city/country/suburbia. You have to be very careful with average speeds because of the starts/stops but on the highway, 52 mph avg., clinics and such, 15 – 20 with all the lights. I suspect your own average speed is maybe 25 mph back and forth to work? The first tank one was wide open Interstate to Milwaukee and 45 – 55 mph State routes coming home but a ton of clinic time. Yesterdays was 55 and 65 mph Interstates out but Chicago was a stop and crawl mess so I would dare to guess 45 miles was at an average speed of 25 out on the Interstate?

    ___Here are some ranges to think about … LS (15 – 25 mph range), MS (25 – 35 mph range) and HS (35 mph on up to a peak of 60 mph).

    ___Heading out in a few more minutes for the last drive and fill in fact :(

    ___Good Luck

  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___The Corolla was filled, the final numbers are up and the XRS was delivered back to Toyota this morning. Here are a few more pics.

    General views

    At a local movie theater

    A/C Control knobs – ungainly :(

    Tight back seat and Dog’s love Corollas :)

    Final tank data​

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  14. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    240.99%!!!:eek::eek: Very nice!

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